Thursday, April 28, 2016

Why Yoga is Good for Kids

Why yoga is wonderful for kids (and everyone else)? Because it’s simple! Love it!
I also like some ideas at the end of the article on how to encourage kids to join a yoga class.

"Yoga has been around for a really long time, though not so long ago it seemed like a mystery to many.  Now, yoga is a regular part of our lives.  Whether or not you’re one of the estimated 10% (or more) of US adults who practice, it’s hard not to notice yoga’s mainstream growth.  If you live in a major city, you can’t walk five blocks without seeing a mat-toting yogi or a new studio popping up in the neighborhoods.  With all of the physical, mental and emotional benefits of the practice, it’s easy to understand why it has become so popular.  And now kids are getting in on it too- more than 3% of kids in the US.  The big question is, should more or all kids be practicing yoga?  My opinion is a resounding yes.
Even with the yoga boom and many offerings that stray far from the most traditional forms of the practice, stigmas surrounding yoga still exist.  Many people who feel uncomfortable letting their children participate or avoid yoga themselves associate it with religion.  While there are forms of the practice which can be very spiritual, lots of yoga, especially when it’s geared towards kids, has no religious or spiritual aspects at all.  If this is an issue that has prevented you or your children from practicing yoga in the past, it’s by no means a silly concern, but certainly shouldn’t keep you away from the wonderful world of yoga.  If you’re worried about it, ask the teacher or studio if they incorporate any spirituality into their teaching.  If it’s a class for kids, chances are it won’t.  Once you’ve gotten past any doubts if your child should practice yoga, you can start to look at all of the reasons why they should.
What is Yoga?
The simplest way I explain yoga to kids and not-yet-yogis is: yoga is a series of movements connected to breathing.  Cut out the fancy poses, peaceful studios, expensive yoga pants, etc. and that’s what you’re left with.  Which is one of the reasons yoga is so wonderful for kids (and everyone else)- it’s simple.  While mats are a staple of yoga, you don’t need one to practice, nor do you need the straps or blocks or bolsters. All you need to practice yoga is your body in any form, shape or size  And that’s a great place to start. Because whether or not your child excels in Why is Yoga Good for Kids?
Besides the simplicity of practice, the benefits of yoga for children is extensive.  From young children to teenagers, inactive kids to serious athletes, yoga can help:
-Increase concentration
-Lower stress
-Improve body control and awareness
-Reduce risk of injury
And that’s just a small sampling of the benefits.  Kids can practice yoga on their own or it can be used as a great social tool or family workout.  Because yoga is non-competitive, it can be done in groups of individuals with very different athletic abilities.  While I am a big proponent of kids experiencing appropriate competitive environments, it’s very important to find activities where kids can find quality movement and see improvement without the pressure to win or compare themselves to someone else.
Where Do You Find Yoga for Kids?
At this point yoga has become so popular that there are almost too many choices.  Many schools are now beginning to offer yoga to students either as part of the curriculum or as an added class.  If your child’s school hasn’t introduced yoga yet or you’re looking for more, here are a few more good options.
There are lots of options online to purchase yoga videos for kids, but with YouTube and other streaming sites, it’s pretty easy to find quality content for free.  For younger kids, online channels like Cosmic Kids Yoga create kid friendly videos to introduce children to yoga.  If you’re a yogi yourself and use online videos for your own practice, let your kids join in.  Unless you’re tackling super advanced poses, most of what you’re already using is fairly safe for kids.
I’m a big believer in books paired with experience as the ultimate educational combo.  The great news is, there are lots of fantastic kids books about yoga for kids.  My favorites are Goodnight Yoga, ABCs of Yoga for Kids, and My Daddy is a Pretzel but there are lots of options, and like most books, you can never have too many.
Kid Friendly Studios
The studio option is the most traditional when it comes to practicing yoga.  Although the majority cater only to adults, some are starting to offer classes geared towards kids and teens.  Even better, there are now studios that focus entirely on kids.
When you walk in our door, you just know that this is a place for kids.  It’s fun, playful and colorful.  We have a chalkboard wall, glow lights, a disco ball, butterflies and flowers seemingly growing out of our walls,” says Shari Vilchez-Blatt, founder of Karma Kids Yoga in NYC.
Like most classes and activities, there are big upsides if you can find studios and teachers who specialize in working with children.
The instructor can serve the children with the class they need by teaching to the class that is there, meeting them at the energy level that they are at,” says Vilchez-Blatt.  “The child can get personal attention that you can’t get from a video.”
Adult Studios
While kid-focused studios are ideal for some children, others thrive in the adult studios, especially teens. Lots of studios have suggested age limits, but are often open or encouraging about kids joining their parents.
“I love when parents bring their kids to class,” says Rebecca Merritt, general manager of New York Yoga. “As long as they’re old enough to follow instructions and excited to learn, we’re excited to have them!”
It’s best to avoid certain types of classes- e.g. Advanced level, hot studios- but for the most part, kids really enjoy being in the grown-up environment.sports, yoga is guaranteed something they can do.
While books, videos and studios are great places to learn yoga, there’s no place like home.   Yoga is an all-season, all-weather activity that’s quiet, calming, and can be done for any length of time.  Kids don’t need a mat, but like most things with children, boundaries help.  Especially compared to other sports and fitness equipment, yoga mats are very affordable.  There are even kid-sized mats with fun designed for younger yogis.
Once your kids have their mats, let them have some say over where and how they set up their practice area inside the home.   It gives them an important sense of autonomy and since mats are easily rolled up and put away, you don’t have to worry much about mess or safety.
How Do You Get Kids Started?
It can be a struggle when it comes to getting kids to try new things.  But as far as yoga goes, you might be surprised how easy it is.  Kids like yoga.  At least most of them.  And those who don’t usually have the same turn-offs as adults who have never tried.  If your child is one of the resistant ones, try one of these counterpoints:
  • You don’t have to flexible
  • Yoga isn’t just for girls.  Lots of guys do it.
  • Most professional athletes practice yoga
  • It doesn’t have to be slow
  • Yoga isn’t just about stretching, it makes you stronger
Even better than trying to sell yoga to your kids, do it with them!  Even a quick ten minute yoga practice is a great way to spend time with your kids while getting them moving.  Plus, all of the wonderful side effects of yoga apply to adults as well!
Parents often ask me about the best sports and activities for kids No matter their child’s age, personality, or love of sports, yoga is always one of my top three recommendations.  I’m a big believer that every child is different and every child has different needs, so almost always avoid all-inclusive “every” and “all” statements.  But in this case I feel confident saying- all kids should practice yoga.


Friday, April 22, 2016

Which Essential Oils to Use for Yoga Classes

I started to use essential oils last year, at the end of yoga classes.. A few ideas below!

You know those blissfully relaxing eye pillows that teachers often drape over your eyes in savasana, at the end of yoga class? That soothing, calming, oh-so-relaxing scent, usually comes from lavender essential oil. Lavender is probably the numero uno essential oil to diffuse into your yoga studio, if you’re looking to create a restorative environment that calms and soothes the mind. It’s pleasing to mostly everyone; unlikely to offend any one’s sense of smell. The perk is that it is inexpensive, unlike some of the other sedative oils. If you’re getting started with essential oils, this is the one to begin with.
Eucalyptus is great for winter months when we need to get energy flowing, while also preventing colds and flu. This oil opens up nasal passages when we have stuffed up noses, making it easier to breathe. The deep inhalations and exhalations, we want to cultivate in yoga.
Frankincense is a bit pricey so it may be better for your home practice. It’s meditative in nature and really helps to center the mind. Like lavender, frankincense has a calming effect on the nervous system, while activating the relaxation response. It’s a potent immune boost – ideal for times when you’re not taking perfect care of yourself.  
Lemon essential oil has uplifting qualities – perfect for an upbeat vinyasa flow class and also perfect for winter season, when seasonal affective disorder sets in. Lemon cleanses the air, while also supporting immune health. You could place a few drops in a spray bottle with distilled water to use as a mat cleaner.
Geranium essential oil has a lovely scent and a calming action on the nervous system. This is a great oil to diffuse during meditation, as it is sedative in nature and also uplifts the spirit.
Everyone has different responses to different scents, so you’ll want to do some sniffing with each of these oils before purchasing. See which ones resonate with your senses and go from there!

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Sunday, April 17, 2016

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

7 Yoga Moves to help your Kids to Get Up

A nice little habit that I passed to my husband to use on our kids, as I'm most of the time away from home teaching when they wake up!

"Getting kids up and ready in the morning is like playing the world’s biggest game of whac-a-mole. Once you’ve solved one thing, another issue pops up. No one wants to get out of bed and it goes downhill from there. It’s enough to turn the first part of the day into the worst part of the day.
So here is where a natural mood shift from yoga can help. Breathing and stretching through a simple and quick yoga routine can increase blood flow, improve circulation, and bring oxygen to the whole body. Giving yourself and your family even three minutes to twist, bend, and breathe can go a long way to a morning that flows. Here are seven poses that will help you to avoid the early drama and bring a positive beginning to your day:

Inhale and reach your arms out to the sides, lift up to the sky and exhale and relax your arms back down.

Lift up on tiptoes and reach your fingers high.

Bend your knees and bring your chest down toward your thighs. Sweep your arms back.
Bend your knees and glide your hands high.

Stand tall and press down through your feet and stretch your spine long. Roll your shoulders back and press your palms together.

Sit with your legs crossed. Your spine grows taller, your shoulders roll back, and rest your hands on your knees."

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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Holiday Camp: zen and creativity

Great Holiday camp concept, at the new Serendipity Centre, from April 25 to 29 avril, 9am to 12pm, for kids 7 to 10 years old.
Art - Theatre - Yoga - Sophrology... in French! Look forward to teaching there!

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Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Feeling Tired?

Seane Corn, an Inspiring teacher, and another useful tip!

"Here's a yoga teachertip for you...when you're tired and having difficulty concentrating try gently rubbing the space between your big and second toe. There's a pressure point there that helps relieve fatigue and brain fog. It often helps me stay focused and on point. "

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

My first Charity Event

with Alphabalance.. Look forward to an exciting family, yoga, fundraising day!

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Graceful and Smooth Warm up

No better place than Bali to practice yoga.
No better way to start a day but practicing yoga.
And practicing yoga with a friend just makes it so more joyful.

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